July 8, 2005
Steyn on target again – but maybe a bit too harsh?
[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]
The difference is that 9/11 hit out of the blue – literally and politically; 7/7 came after four years of Her Majesty’s Government prioritising terrorism and “security” above all else – and the failure rate was still 100 per cent. After the Madrid bombing, I was struck by the spate of comic security breaches in London: two Greenpeace guys shin up St Stephen’s Tower, a Mirror reporter blags his way into a servants’ gig at Buckingham Palace a week before Bush comes to stay; an Osama lookalike gatecrashes Prince William’s party.
It’s not a question of trying and prodding and testing and finding the weak link in the chain, the one day – on Monday or Wednesday, in January or November, when an immigration official or a luggage checker is a bit absent-minded and distracted and you slip quietly through. Instead, the jihad, via one of its wholly owned but independently operated subsidiaries, scheduled an atrocity for the start of the G8 summit and managed to pull it off – at a time when ports and airports and internal security were all supposed to be on heightened alert. That’s quite a feat.
I’ve always assumed that Britain has remarkably good security agencies, but of course I don’t know a damn thing about that. But one of the problems is that we only see the failures. How many times since 9/11 did British anti-terror officials successfully deter attacks? We don’t know, but it could be many. And “deter” doesn’t necessarily mean stopping something just before it happens. It can also mean that would-be terrorists have realized that they have been surveilled so successfully that they give up some attack plans before they really even finalize them.
On the other hand… By pointing out the somewhat comical mishaps such as the Osama look-alike gig, Steyn is fairly persuasive.
He goes on and wonders what I think many of us have wondered: did the need to send security reinforcements up North to the G8 summit leave London more open to attack? Would it have made a difference if they weren’t dispatched to Gleneagle?
Of course, many resources had been redeployed to Scotland to cope with Bob Geldof’s pathetic call for a million anti-globalist ninnies to descend on the G8 summit. In theory, the anti-glob mob should be furious with al-Qa’eda and its political tin ear for ensuring that their own pitiful narcissist protests – the pâpier-maché Bush and Blair puppets, the ethnic drumming, etc – will be crowded off the news bulletins.
Here’s Steyn at his best, laying out alternatives:
The choice for Britons now is whether they wish to be Australians post-Bali or Spaniards post-Madrid.
I think I know which choice they’ll make. But I have to admit that Charmaine Yoest’s reports worry me.